Category Archives: Free Jazz

CATAPILLA-CATAPILLA AND CHANGES.

Catapilla-Catapilla and Changes. Label: Trading Places. Format: LP. The story of Catapilla is another case of what might have been. They were formed in West London around Christmas 1970, and signed to Vertigo Records and released two ambitious and innovative albums where they combined progressive rock with experimental fusion. Sadly, neither their 1971 debut album …

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LARAAJI-SUN PIANO.

Laraaji-Sun Piano. Label: All Saints Records. Format: LP. On the album cover to his new album Sun Piano, which was released by All Saints Records, Laraaji describes playing the piano as: “my music therapy.” This is something the seventy-seven year has been doing since 1953, when he was just ten and living in New Jersey.  …

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CULT CLASSIC: DIES IRAE-FIRST.

Cult Classic: Dies Irae-First. For many new bands, their main objective is to release an “album”  and they want to do this as quickly as possible. This will be a sign that they’ve “arrived” and have one foot on the musical ladder. Sadly, for some bands, that’s as far as it goes. The album fails to …

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HEDVIG MOLLESTAD-EKHIDNA.

Hedvig Mollestad-Ekhidna. Label: Rune Grammofon. Format: CD. In May 2018, award-winning Norwegian guitarist, vocalist, bandleader and composer Hedvig Mollestad was thirty-six and one of the leading lights of the vibrant Nordic music scene. Her band the Hedvig Mollestad Trio had already released five albums and had already recorded their sixth album Smells Funny. Despite the …

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CULT CLASSIC: LONNIE LISTON SMITH AND THE COSMIC ECHOES-ASTRAL TRAVELLING.

Cult Classic: Lonnie Liston Smith and The Echoes-Astral Travelling. Sometimes, a record company proves to be the perfect fit for an  artist. That was the case with Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman Productions which was the perfect label for Lonnie Liston Smith and The Echoes’ unique brand of cosmic jazz. Through working with some of the most innovative and creative …

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ANDREW HILL-SMOKE STACK.

Andrew Hill-Smoke Stack. Label: Blue Note Records. Format: Vinyl. By the time Chicago-born pianist Andrew Hill released his sophomore album Black Fire on Blue Note Records in 1964, he was already thirty-two, and was making up for lost time. He had only started to play the piano when he was thirteen but made rapid progress. …

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AKSAK MABOUL-FIGURES.

Aksak Maboul-Figures. Label: Crammed Discs.  Nowadays, there aren’t many bands that are still together and releasing new albums after five decades. The same can be said of record labels founded in the seventies. Sadly, bands and record labels aren’t enjoying the same longevity in the modern music business.  All too often, bands release a couple …

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CULT CLASSIC: LEON THOMAS-BLUES AND THE SOULFUL TRUTH.

Cult Classic: Leon Thomas-Blues and The Soulful Truth. Some labels prove to be the perfect fit for an artist. This was the case when Leon Thomas signed to Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman Productions.  By the late sixties, Leon Thomas had embraced free jazz fully. He turned his back on the blues and his vocal style was totally …

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CULT CLASSIC: OLIVER NELSON-SWISS SUITE.

Cult Classic: Oliver Nelson-Swiss Suite. In 1971, Oliver Nelson and his all-star band were flown by Bob Thiele, the founder and owner of Flying Dutchman Productions, to the  Montreux Jazz Festival to showcase his latest composition, the four-part, Swiss Suite. It had been written by Oliver Nelson especially for the Montreux Jazz Festival, which was only in its fourth year. Founded …

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ANDREAS ROYSUM ENSEMBLE-ANDREAS ROYSUM ENSEMBLE.

Andreas Røysum Ensemble-Andreas Røysum Ensemble. Label: Motvind Records. Over the last decade, the Norwegian jazz scene  has been thriving, and today is one of the most vibrant in Europe as a new generation of up-and-coming musicians follow their dreams to make a living playing jazz. They hope to follow in the footsteps of Jan Garbarek, …

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JACKIE MCLEAN-A FICKLE SONANCE.

Jackie McLean-A Fickle Sonance. Label: Blue Note Records. On October the ’26th’ 1961, thirty year old alto-saxophonist Jackie McLean made the now familiar journey to the Van Gelder Studio, at 445 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, to record a new album with his quintet. The album became A Fickle Sonance, which was released in …

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DUKE ELLINGTON, CHARLIE MINGUS, MAX ROACH-MONEY JUNGLE.

Duke Ellington, Charlie Mingus, Max Roach-Money Jungle. Label: Blue Note Records. On Monday, September the ‘17th’ 1962, bassist Charles Mingus and drummer Max Roach made their way to Sound Makers Studio, in New York. The two friends were en route to a session where they would record an album with one of the giants of …

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DR JOHN THE NIGHT TRIPPER-THE SUN, MOON AND HERBS.

Dr John The Night Tripper-The Sun, Moon and Herbs. Label: Speaker’s Corner. By July 1970, twenty-nine year old Dr John was about to begin recording his fourth album for Atco which eventually became The Sun, Moon and Herbs which has just been reissued on vinyl by Speaker’s Corner.  Dr John had written six new track …

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SPIRITUAL JAZZ VOLUME 11: STEEPLECHASE.

Spiritual Jazz Volume 11: SteepleChase. Label: Jazzman.  In 1959, Anders Dyrup founded Jazzhus Montmartre, which was situated in Dahlerupsgade, in the Danish capital Copenhagen. On the opening night, American  clarinetist George Lewis had been booked to play and performed there for a fortnight. He was the first of many great jazz musicians who played at …

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GARD NILSSEN’S SUPERSONIC ORCHESTRA-IF YOU LISTEN CAREFULLY THE MUSIC IS YOURS.

Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra-If You Listen Carefully The Music Is Yours. Label: Odin Records. To say that bandleader, composer, drummer and percussionist Gard Nilssen is a prolific musician is something of an understatement. Since 2007, he has played on over seventy albums by all types of groups. Mostly, it’s been with small groups including the …

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MIKE WESTBROOK-LOVE AND UNDERSTANDING: CITADEL/ROOM 315 SWEDEN 74.

Mike Westbrook-Love and Understanding: Citadel/Room 315 Sweden 74. Label: My Only Desire Records. By 1974, composer and pianist Mike Westbrook was thirty-eight and one of the leading lights of the British jazz scene. He had come a long way since he formed his first band in 1958 when he was an art student studying painting. …

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CULT CLASSIC: MIROSLAV VITOUS-THE BASS.

Cult Classic: Miroslav Vitous-The Bass. In 1967, twenty year old Miroslav Vitous was playing alongside Clark Terry in a Chicago club. It was just the latest gig for the up-and-coming Czech bassist. He had made America his home in 1966, when he won a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music, in Boston. Now …

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TEA AND SYMPHONY-AN ASYLUM FOR THE MUSICALLY INSANE.

Tea and Symphony-An Asylum For The Musically Insane. Label: Magic Box. When the original lineup of Tea and Symphony was founded in Birmingham, England, in the late-sixties, they were an acoustic group who have since been compared to Marc Bolan’s Tyrannosaurus Rex. The group was founded by Jeff Daw, James Langston and Nigel Phillips, but …

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CULT CLASSIC: GARY BARTZ-LOVE SONG.

Cult Classic: Gary Bartz-Love Song. By 1976, saxophonist Gary Bartz’s reputation was on the rise.This came as no surprise to those within the jazz community. Already, Gary Bartz had played with some of the biggest names in jazz. Especially before he formed his own band in 1969. Baltimore born Gary Bartz had started his career …

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CULT CLASSIC: VOIGT/465-SLIGHTS UNSPOKEN.

Cult Classic: Voigt/465-Slights Unspoken. The story of Voigt/465 is a case of what might have been. They were formed in Sydney, Australia in 1976, and spent the next three years trying to make a breakthrough. By May 1979, things were looking up for Voigt/465 and they looked on the verge of a breakthrough. Their single …

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